One of the biggest breakouts of the 2010 fantasy baseball seasons was the superb pitching performance by Anaheim Angels SP Jered Weaver. Weaver, who was originally a first round draft choice of the team back in 2004, had always showed glimpses of his talent and ability but for some reason or another, was never able to put a full season together. That is until 2010 when Weaver wound up with a 3.01 ERA and 1.07 WHIP to go with a league leading 233 strikeouts. It was an incredible performance all the way around and so many are wondering whether he can do it again this season. Lets find out if a repeat is in store.

Looking at Weaver the pitcher, he began to show off his strikeout acumen was back in his rookie season in 2006 when he rang up 105 batters in 123 IP. That was a nice start but injuries and a tendency to wear down in the second halves undermined his efforts in the subsequent campaigns. So when 2010 began, many fantasy baseball owners were able to grab him late in their drafts as he was falling into the post-hype bin. Now that 2010 has established what he can do when everything is clicking on all cylinders, its clear now that Weaver has found a nice balance in his offerings and settled into a routine that is fooling hitters for sure. What changed though?

Really the answer comes down to Weaver’s tendency to throw more breaking balls last season. Weaver saw a sharp increase in breaking pitches thrown in 2010 and that made his fastball seems faster and thus confuse opposing hitters even more since they had more to think about when they stepped into the box to face his offerings. So the sharp rise in strikeouts can’t be looked at as a fluke and his spring training stats are already bearing that out with more K’s than IP.

Now as far as the minuscule ERA and WHIP and whether they were legitimate in 2010, the answer to that is found in the BABIP’s and strand rates which were both league average. That means he didn’t benefit from luck last season and so a repeat is likely based on that aspect which is always a powerful tool to use in evaluating a future performance. So Weaver’s stats for 2011 may very well be just as good as 2010 with the chance to be even better. The wins were lower than the numbers showed last season but that has more to do with the team and that is out of his control. The Angels though have some weak competition in their division with the A’s and Mariners so a rise there could be in the offing as well. Things look good all the way around.

All in all, Jered Weaver makes a tremendous starting pitching option for 2011 fantasy baseball which is clear to see. Whats great is that his draft position this spring was lower than it should have been as he was drafted behind guys like Cole Hamels, Tommy Hanson, and Matt Cain. He could do better than all of those guys this season and so he again makes a nice draft value. Go all in here and enjoy the great numbers you will get.

2011 PROJECTION: 15-7 3.22 ERA 1.11 WHIP 215 K